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Sustainability : Featured Stories

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Rummaging through Metro Detroit: 5 great places to upcycle

Throw a stone in the air and you're bound to hit a resale, recycling, reuse or junk shop. But which places offer the best trash-to-treasure odds? Metromode takes you on the nickel tour of the region's top upcycling destinations.

OpEd: Getting renewable energy policy in Michigan right

The pending Energy Freedom bill package is a market-based approach that empowers individual property-owners to make choices about renewable energy generation rather than leaving it to the utility companies. James Clift, policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council, weighs in on how we should turn small-scale renewable energy into a large-scale pursuit. 

OpEd: Grab a Friend and Get On the Bus

Yes, it's very possible to travel daily around Detroit without touching a steering wheel. Year-round bike/bus commuters Melissa Damaschke and Julie Funke share their experience and opinions on the better integration of Detroit's bus systems, People Mover, and the future M-1 Rail.

OpEd: Closing the Gap Between Food Producers and Consumers

The biggest barrier to consumer access to fresh, locally-grown food is the distance between food providers and suppliers, says Rachel Leemis, founder of Monty's Beef Company, a Piedmontese beef retailer that keeps its own herd of cattle. But new state support for rural development is planting the way for the state's 52,000 farms to meet this growing trend. 

Motor City Free Geek Reclaims Yesterday's Technology

There's an awful lot of discarded technology out there. There's got to be a better place for it than the trash, right? The Royal Oak non-profit Motor City Free Geeks marshals hundreds of tech volunteers to refurbish computers and laptops, outfitting them with free software and selling them to the public for hugely discounted prices. It's like the Circle of Life for technology.

Can Southgate Become an Anchor for Regional Sustainability and Affordability?

The Michigan Suburbs Alliance is piloting Green Anchors, an innovative program that takes a holistic approach to affordable housing, green building and community engagment. The plan is to turn the tenants of newly renovated Southgate homes into neighborhood evangelists for energy efficiency. Think of it as a 'Domino Effect' of sustainability. 

A Tern for the Better: The Detroit River Comeback

Oh, the difference a couple of tern chicks make. For decades the Detroit River was a repository for industrial pollution and waste. Now, through both international cooperation and private-public partnerships the health of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is slowly but steadily rebounding.

Guest Bloggers: Lucas Morrison, Ji Yoon Gook, Mackenzie Carlsen

It's said history repeats itself, but our legacy of burning fossil fuels for energy isn't renewable. A team of U-M students working with SolarYpsi, a volunteer-based solar power organization gaining national prominence, gets at the root of our conservation issues.

A Local Response to Climate Change

Talking about climate change and doing something about it are two very different things. But for Southgate, Ypsilanti, and Hazel Park, community organizations and city leaders are turning such discussions into a joint committment to shrink their carbon footprint.

Wyandotte Gives A Watt!

Unlike most Michigan municipalities, Wyandotte provides power to its residents. You'd think in this age of ever-climbing energy costs that'd be a liability. Think again. Instead the community-owned utility has found creative ways to increase sustainability with both its businesses and homeowners.

Better Living Through Better Buildings

Unless you've been living in a cave you've probably heard the many green-minded arguments for why you should make your home more energy efficient. But what you might not realize is that there are compelling reasons beyond reducing the size of your carbon footprint. How about comfort? Better living has inspired one Ferndale resident to become an envangelist for Michigan's BetterBuildings program.

The Blue Oval Goes Green: A Q & A with Ford's David Berdish

David Berdish has been called the sustainability guru of the Ford Motor Company and, no, that's not an oxymoronic title. The car company's green advocate discusses why better public transportation leadership is needed in Metro Detroit and how a member of the Big Three can promote sustainable practices, champion mass transit, and still hold true to its business mission.

Metro Detroit's Institutes Of Greener Learning

New and better ideas. Innovation. These are the things we associate with our institutes of higher learning. So, now that green technology and practices are becoming a way of life, how do Metro Detroit's universities and colleges fare when it comes to sustainability? Metromode's Kim North Shine checks out who's doing what to reduce their collective carbon footprint.

Michigan's Next Step: A Conversation with Bruce Katz

Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute has strong opinions about what will help to push Michigan forward. Our colleagues at Lansing's Capital Gains chat with him about cities, transportation, and the strengths of manufacturing in the new economy.

Purpose Driven: A Q&A with Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb

Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb is an unabashed entrepreneur, a true believer that business is the ultimate engine for change. He also believes that corporations must have a deeper purpose than just profit. Metromode's Jeff Meyers chats with Robb about the way those seemingly disconnected impulses come together and why the next generation of business leaders should embrace them.
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